Bert and Julie Naig Headed To 4-H Hall Of Fame
You could almost call them Mr. and Mrs. 4-H in Palo Alto County, and people would know whom you were talking almost immediately. Bert and Julie Naig fit those titles, and it is only fitting that the couple will be inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame next month at the Iowa State Fair. However, it was a complete surprise to the pair when they were introduced Thursday night at the Palo Alto County Fair.
Palo Alto County Fair Association Treasurer Dan Voigt had the honor of announcing the 2010 honorees to a large crowd at the fairground’s open-air pavilion.
“It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that this year’s Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame inductees from Palo Alto County are Bert and Julie Naig,” Voigt said to introduce the thoroughly surprised pair. “Both Bert and Julie are native Palo Alto County 4-H’ers, Bert as a member of the Independence Boosters and Julie as a member of the Rush Lake Peppy Pals. They’ve both remained very deeply involved in 4-H over the years, through their support, participation and belief in the positive benefits of 4-H to our youth. We all know that they don’t like the spotlight on themselves, but this is one time they will just have to enjoy it, because we are all very, very proud of them and very happy that they have achieved this honor.”
Other Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame inductees from Palo Alto County include Julie Nelson, Angie Beem, Ray Brown, Merrylea Clasing, Tim Naig, Dan Voigt and Ann Stillman.
It took a little deception by friends and fair board members and staffers to get both to the announcement, as keeping the honor a surprise was the goal from the day the nomination was first made.
“I had to tell Bert that Julie was going to be inducted,” Devona Perkins, Fair Board Business Manager admitted, “That was the only way he was going to be there.”
Julie Naig was on hand to supervise the Awards Ceremonies for Exhibits and Clothing Projects, so the stage was set.
As the announcement was made, Julie Naig’s jaw dropped in disbelief, while Bert, sitting on bleachers, dropped his head, shaking it back and forth in disbelief.
“This is such an honor, we just don’t know what to say, other than thank you to everyone,” Julie said following the announcement.
The couple’s official nomination reads like a “This is Your Life” in 4-H.
“Bert and Julie Naig are both native Palo Alto County 4-H’ers. Bert joined the Independence Boosters as teenagers. He was primarily involved in livestock activities. Julie was a nine-year member of the Rush Lake Peppy Pals 4-H Club and served as Club President. She was the County Council Vice President, represented Palo Alto County in the state clothing event and was the winner of the state Make It With Wool contest. Today, they reside near Cylinder and are the parents of two grown daughters, Amy and Karen, and have two grandchildren.”
“Bert came back to the 4-H program as an adult volunteer. He served as the Palo Alto County Fair Grounds Manager for six years. In 1996, Bert was elected to the Palo Alto County Fair Association as a fair board member. In the 1990’s, he served as the 4-H Rabbit Superintendent and has been a Beef Superintendent for countless years. He was instrumental in developing the bucket/bottle calf program in Palo Alto County.
Bert would go on to serve two years as the leader of the Independence Boosters 4-H Club to keep the club going when a leader was desperately needed. He is the backbone of the Shooting Sports Club and has served as the coordinator for the program for the last five years.
Bert is an essential part of the Palo Alto County Fair Board and is the “go-to” person for answers to questions suggestions for most problems that may arise. A true master of all trades, the Palo Alto County Fair would not be as successful as it is today without Bert’s knowledge, technical assistance over the years.”
“Julie returned to 4-H while Bert was serving as the fair manager. She volunteered countless hours assisting with her daughters’ 4-H club as well as helping with setting up the fair, assisting with judging day and cleaning up facilities for the fair. She later joined the Iowa State University Extension Service in Palo Alto County and has served as the County Youth Coordinator (CYC) for the past 15 years.
Julie is truly dedicated to the youth of the county and volunteers many hours to 4-H, above and beyond her job description. She is extremely busy advising the county council and working on projects, such as county council retreats, 4-H lock-ins, intermediate trips and junior day camps. It is very important to Julie that additional opportunities outside the local 4-H club be available to 4-H’ers in Palo Alto County. She has developed the Clover Kids program to now have clubs in each of the four school districts in the county. This program helps to ensure the future success of the 4-H programs in the county. To best understand her devotion to 4-H, one merely needs to look at the license plate on Julie’s car – 4H.”
“Either Bert or Julie, and usually both are present at every 4-H event countywide. They work tirelessly to ensure the success of each activity. Neither ever wants to be in the spotlight for their contributions, but both are very active in the background. They are both instrumental in making sure that 4-H offers something for all the youth.”
The 4-H program in Palo Alto County would not be what it is today without Bert and Julie Naig. We salute them for all they have done in the past and continue to do for 4-H and youth in Palo Alto County.